Here is a follow up to our earlier post on the creative process and ideas that go into the creation of some of our artworks. Some of the themes you can see in these artworks are old vs. new, urban life, and cultural differences between the East and West. As always, we would love to hear any input or inquiries you have in the comments!
Liu Dao artists always try to show unique relationships between the old and the new. As artists working and living in Shanghai they see this going on every day. In this piece they wanted to use the vase to represent the ‘old’. The vase depicts a traditionally-styled landscape scene and was done using classic Chinese paper cutting techniques. The butterflies, on the other hand, represent the contemporary aspects of modern living, the new trends, technology and ways of thinking. What some people see as a clash, the Liu Dao artists like to think of as a wonderful little dance, happening all around us every day.
I Hadn’t Really Noticed
The idea behind this artwork was how anonymous everyone can be in a big city. When you watch a movie and someone important comes on the screen you always know. The music intensifies, the camera focuses, you are unmistakably supposed to acknowledge this person. For better or worse though, this never happens in real life. Maybe you’re walking past just another average person with no particular story, but maybe its not. Sometimes it’s fun to pay attention to someone on the street and wonder for a minute, maybe make up your own story about them. The artists wanted to make a work with this playful idea in mind.
The one child policy has had so many interesting effects, many of which we might not ever fully grasp. The artists come from mixed backgrounds and have often discussed this topic, notably because of how differently children are raised in different countries. The idea that you would tell a young child to chase their dreams and follow their heart is still a rather foreign one in China. One overlooked consideration in all of this is the motivation of the parents, what ought they advise? In truth, there may be no right answer, just a long scale of happiness, success, freedom and a big spinning wheel of fate.
Fish have a mythic standing in Asian culture. Many Chinese folk tales and old legends have fish at the center (often times carp or goldfish). The artists made this piece during a period where they sought to explore the classic fish motif in a more modern visual way. What can old legends do for us today and how (if at all) do they relate to the way people live their lives in contemporary cityscapes and environments?
The Liu Dao artists love the idea of a traditional Chinese vase with LED butterflies going in and out of it. This is because it’s such a gorgeous representation of modern life in Shanghai (and most cities around the world) as well as many modern cultures. You have this traditional place steeped in a rich history, yet constantly being reinvigorated by youth and new technology. It’s about how to see the whole picture of a city or culture, what it is now and where it’s going, without forgetting all the things it used to be.